Gibson 1959 Explorer Replica build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Marn99, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Marn99

    Marn99 Member

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    This is my first post here! A little bit about me, I am a 17 year old luthier named Ben and I have a fascination with building replica guitars to every detail possible. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Dave's Guitar Shop in La Crosse, WI, where I went to see the 1959 Gibson Explorer they have and get some questions answered.
    IMG_20170902_104536615_HDR.jpg
    While I got some of my questions answered I still find myself having some lingering questions, and I would like to know if anyone around here could perhaps answer them! While this thread will eventually become a build thread, right now I am starting with prep for it. I also posted many of these questions on TDPRI, but I am simply diversifying my search for answers. Without further adieu, here are my questions.

    First, my pickguard will be cellulose nitrate, I have a guy who is going to be CNCing the pickguard for me, his template being drawn from a real 1958, but I have to buy the pickguard material in ply's. What is the best way to glue/bind the 4 ply's of celluloid together?

    Does anyone here have any details about the neck? First, I have no idea if the neck pocket is angled or flat, and second, it looks as if the fingerboard meets with the body and the body is angled where the joint is, can anyone comment?
    Who would you say makes the best non aged black butyrate pickup rings?
    Who makes the best non aged celluloid (they were celluloid right?) top hat knobs in gold? (I know DMC has them, are Montreux and CreamTone also the original plastic formula?)

    Where can I find Catalin for the switch tip?

    How vintage correct is the Original ABR-1 bridge that stewmac sells? Apparently it is made by the same company that made the originals but it is better to make sure it is true to original before i drop 47 dollars on it.

    How do Stewmac's pickguard screws for Gibson compare with the originals (in terms of dimensions)?

    Finally, where can I find a one piece White Limba body blank for this thing?
    Thanks,
    Ben
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  2. paulmarr

    paulmarr Senior Member

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    Hi Ben

    I know you are young ... I have seen this post on multiple forums and it wouldn't surprise me if you hear this more than once ... you need to do a little homework yourself - this forum has a lot of the information you asked about if you only bother to search ... may I suggest a very good thread to read which may answer some of your questions?

    http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/1958-63-explorer-build.384489/

    Once you start doing your research you will surprise yourself with answers to questions you haven't asked yet! Good luck!
     
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  3. Marn99

    Marn99 Member

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    Did some research, my suspicions were confirmed about binding celluloid, acetone does the trick. Would acetone make the black ply bleed pigment into the white though? I'll try find an answer for that one. As for the catalin, I see several people using old dice and other misc. catalin objects to make their replica switch tips, however, I do hate the idea of destroying an antique just for a switch tip, perhaps I will find a broken piece of catalin. As for the pickup rings, I think I am going to go for the unaged black Throbak M-69's. There are some questions down, I will keep you all updated.
     
  4. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    Knobs were made from CAB (Cellulose Acetate Butyrate)...
     
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  5. Marn99

    Marn99 Member

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    Awesome! Any particular maker who you'd recommend who makes them out of CAB?
     
  6. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    I will assume you have built a guitar before this, and have all the right professional quality tools available for use......trying to get vintage details right if you are struggling to know how to make a guitar seems a bit too much to do all in one. Especially given most people's first attempt tends to go wrong.

    Try having a look for a thread here on the vintage flying V......that might help with the construction detail queries as it has a similar build type.

    DMC seem to be the best source of accurate parts......certainly they blacklight the right way. Crazyparts in Germany is a good website to find accurate parts - I wouldn't bother trying any of the generic stores if visual accuracy is the key. All of the hardware will be there methinks.

    See if you can talk to Mojoaxe about the pickguard.....he might have the right laminate already, and even have his own template for that era guitar as he does vintage pickguard construction as his main business.

    And I am assuming here that you already have the Braz rosewood fretboard, are on the lookout for a real set of PAF's too.....as all this pure attention to detail is pointless without those.
     
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  7. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Oh, in addition if you want that nice golden colour for the finish then you will need to get some nice more vintage formulated nitro out into a glass soaking up some UV ASAP. That colour can only be achieved properly with sun tinted lacquer.
     
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  8. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    That was a "real" 1959 Explorer? How much did they want for it? I'm very skeptical, anyone else?? I'm no aficionado but the Reverb price on those is between $600K - $1.2M. Would they let anyone just grab it?

    update -- I checked "dave's collection" and he indeed says it's a 59 Explorer. That's pretty awesome. I'm amazed he let you hold it.

    Cheers Peter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
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  9. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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    Yep, they also do a great demo on how to not do a great demo of an iconic Vintage Guitar.



    :cheers2:
     
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  10. Marn99

    Marn99 Member

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    Do I need to UV expose my Nitro? My goal for this build is to make a Gibson Explorer replica that looks how it would have been when it left the Kalamazoo factory. I always assumed that the golden color was from the nitro aging and that the explorers were much lighter when they were brand new.
     
  11. Marn99

    Marn99 Member

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    Yes, I have build a guitar before :). I think I am going to go with DMC, they really have an attention to detail that I am looking for with this build. It is funny you should mention Mojoaxe, that is the guy who I am sending the celluloid to get it routed! His template is from a real 58 explorer. As for the Brazilian, I know a guy who works closely with CITES to harvest Brazilian Rosewood from old stumps. The wood isn't as stable (less important for an electric fingerboard, more so an issue with acoustic back and sides) and isn't as dark but it is still good, and most importantly, CITES certified, Brazilian. As for the Humbuckers, I haven't really thought about which ones would be best. At the very least though they would have butyrate bobbins, correct winding and potting, and vintage correct wire.
     
  12. Marn99

    Marn99 Member

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    A little bit about this particular explorer
    serial number is 9 1995
    It was re-necked by Gibson sometime in the 60s
    the tuner buttons are replaced because they were crumbling
    the side dots look to be white (celluloid?) or maybe pearloid like the position markers (though I didn't see any figuring in the side dots)
    it's awesome
     
  13. Marn99

    Marn99 Member

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    He is an awesome player though :)
     
  14. Bill Hicklin

    Bill Hicklin Senior Member

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    I can't believe he doesn't have a strap on, balancing the better part of a million bucks on his sloping thigh.
     
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  15. Bill Hicklin

    Bill Hicklin Senior Member

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    You can also check out my Moderne thread for some details that apply to the Futuristics generally, like pickguard beveling and the correct screws.
     
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  16. Marn99

    Marn99 Member

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    Will check it out, thanks :)
     
  17. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    White dots, I believe, are vintage correct.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  18. Marn99

    Marn99 Member

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    I am going to assume white cellulose nitrate, what do you think?
     
  19. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    this will be an interesting thread/build. will be watching it. I for one love to see young people picking up the craft. it will develop in you more than the ability to build a guitar. with your attention to detail, i would love to see some pics of your other build(s). this is not a set up....i genuinely would love to see some pics of your work. good luck, and happy building.
     
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  20. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    You might want to check out Wizz, and see if the NOS wire version is still available. I'm sure a gold cover version would be an option. That way you would get an M69 ring with the pickup.....and black is black.
    Sigil still has a set or two of the 1959 or 1958 wire ones left too I think.

    Neither option is cheap though.
     
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